I am so excited today to bring you 50 advanced English phrases that will help you level up or advance your English. Are you ready?
On the Fence
On the fence means undecided. If you’re not on the left side of the fence, or the right side of the fence, you are on top of the fence. You’re “on the fence,” you’re not sure, you haven’t made up your mind.
All Things Considered
I love this phrase because it’s also the title of a famous radio program on NPR (national public radio) – “All Things Considered.” I highly recommend that you try listening to this radio show to practice your English listening skills. The phrase “all things considered” is similar to saying, “in summary,” or “I think…” It’s like introducing your opinion.
To Weigh the Pros and Cons
To weigh the pros and cons means to think about all the negative things, and all the positive things, and come up with a conclusion.
All things considered, I think this year is going to be amazing.
I’ve weighed the pros and cons, I’ve considered the negatives and the positives, and all things considered, I think this year is going to be awesome.
At the End of the Day
This means “in summary,” or in conclusion,” or you can use it to emphasize a point. It means that after you have thought about everything, this is your conclusion. It’s super fun to say, too – “all in all.”
I’m going to use some phrases that you might use interchangeably, because I think it’s easier to remember them when we learn them together. You can use “all things considered,” “to weigh the pros and cons,” and “at the end of the day” in the same way.
All in all, this is going to be a great year.
For the Most Part
This means “mostly,” or a little more than half. It’s less enthusiastic. You might have some doubts about how amazing the year will be.
It’s a Gray Area
This is another phrase for doubts. You can use it if you’re not sure about something, or if there’s some confusion. It’s not black or white, it’s not yes or no, it’s not true or false – it’s a gray area. Sometimes we use this when we’re asking how a rule or a law applies to a situation. “Oh, that’s a gray area.”
For example, you probably know about Airbnb. There are a lot of new questions about how Airbnb keeps the law, or how the law applies to Airbnb. It’s a “gray area.”
In contrast to “it’s a gray area,” we have “crystal clear.” This means there’s no doubt at all. It’s either yes or no, the answer is obvious.
Let’s Get to the Meat
This means to get directly to the purpose, let’s talk about what we are here to do.
“To crash” is to hit, but “to crash (somewhere)” is a bit informal. It means to stay over, or to spend the night somewhere.
I’m going to crash at my family’s house for the holidays.
I’m going to crash at my friend’s house this weekend.
It can also mean to arrive at a place where you aren’t expected or invited. Have you heard of the movie, The Wedding Crashers? It’s about people who come to a wedding even though they weren’t invited.
I’m going to crash that party.
You Can’t Go Wrong
This means that it’s always a good choice.
You can’t go wrong with learning something new.
Make it Work
Despite challenges and difficulties, we are going to succeed. To be honest, whenever you try to achieve something, you will have challenges. The bigger your goal, the more challenges you will have. Let’s expect that you might get a little frustrated at times, and that’s okay. We’re going to “make it work.”
To Make Ends Meet
This means that you have a tight budget; you don’t have a lot of money to spend. But you “make it work.” You find creative solutions to find the money you need to cover your expenses.
To Make Do
This means you are doing fine. Maybe you have some challenges, but you’re still working hard to achieve your goals. You’re paying your bills, you’re paying your rent, you’re “making do.”
What on Earth?
You could also say “how on earth,” or “who on earth.” I got a call this morning and there was no caller ID on my phone, so I said, “Who on earth is calling me?” It means you might be a little impatient.
That’s enough! Maybe like me you are tired of all these calls with no caller ID, so you could say “That’s it, I’m tired of all these scam and robot calls!” That’s it, I’ve had enough, I’m not answering them anymore!
Some May Argue That
If you want to express an opinion, but you want to be kind of polite and indirect, you can say, “Some may argue that…”
Some may argue that it’s better to turn your cell phone off so you don’t get these weird calls.
To Find That
We can use this to express an opinion more formally, maybe in a meeting.
I find that it’s better to turn your cell phone off during meetings so you don’t get these calls that interrupt you.
To Handle (Something)
To handle something means to manage it successfully.
Are you able to handle all of your work or are you overwhelmed?
I’m handling it just fine; I’m making do.
I’m not handling it very well. I think I need a hand to help me handle it.
To Get Into (Something)
This means to start something, or to become interested in something. Maybe you want to get into a new hobby, or explore a new skill.
Lately, I’ve been really getting into sports that are in nature.
I’ve been getting into kayaking.
I’ve been getting into rock climbing.
What have you been getting into?
What do you want to get into this year?
To Be Into (Something)
To be into something is to already have an existing interest in it. After I’ve been mountain biking a few times, now I can say, “I am into mountain biking.”
To Miss the Point
To miss the point means that it went over your head, or you didn’t understand something.
I missed the point, could you please repeat that?
Peace of Mind
There are two different kinds of “peace of mind.” The first one is being calm, feeling like everything is taken care of. “I feel good, I have peace of mind about that.”
There’s also “give someone a piece of your mind.” This means to tell someone how upset you are. “I’m going to give you a piece of my mind if you’re not nice to me.” It means to fight with someone.
To Check All the Boxes
Maybe you’re looking for a new employee, or someone to date. You might have a list, at least in your mind, of qualities you want in that person. You can say, “Do they check all the boxes?” Do they meet all your requirements, do they have the qualities you are looking for.
Conversely, if you see a “red flag,” you see a warning sign that this person might not be a good employee or a good date. It means, “watch out, or danger.” That’s a “red flag.”
Icing on the Cake
Cherry on Top
We’ll explain these both at the same time (“two birds with one stone.”) Maybe that’s an idiom you already know! “Icing on the cake” and “cherry on top” both mean a bonus, an additional benefit that you weren’t expecting. Maybe you bought something and then you got a bonus gift. That’s a “cherry on top.”
“The icing on the cake,” maybe it’s not the reason you made this purchase, but it’s really nice. It’s like when you get a little gift. Maybe I go out to buy makeup and I get a free travel-size of lipstick. That’s “icing on the cake.”
To Be Worth It
“To be worth it” means something is valuable. The benefit outweighs the cost. If something is “worth it,”
To Be Worth Its Weight in Gold
This means it’s extremely valuable. Maybe I got a good deal. “It’s worth its weight in gold.” It’s extremely valuable or priceless. Having a good social network, a community of friends, it’s worth its weight in gold. In fact, you can’t put a price on it.
To Sweat Something
This means you are stressed out about something. You’re anxious, or you’re not feeling good. You’re worried. There’s an expression that says, “don’t sweat the small stuff.” This means don’t get stressed out about little things, and it’s all little things. So basically, relax, don’t worry, it’s going to be okay.
To Freak Out
To “freak out” is more casual. It means that you are stressed out. You are sweating something, you are worried. Maybe something is not making you feel right or calm.
I’m freaked out because I missed a deadline.
“Sketchy” and “iffy” mean pretty much the same thing, that something is not trustworthy. It means that a thing doesn’t feel right, you don’t think you can trust someone. “That looks sketchy,” or an “iffy situation,” is something you don’t want to be involved in.
I think the bridge crossing this river looks sketchy, it looks iffy. I think that bridge might break any moment now, so let’s not walk across it. Let’s be a bit conservative and careful.
To Look Like
This means to resemble.
That bridge looks like it could break at any second.
Hey, you look like that movie star, you resemble that movie star.
It looks like it’s going to rain.
To a T
This means it was perfect, 100%, A+.
You have completed this assignment to a T.
You look just like that movie star to a T.
Off the Charts
This means exceptional.
You’ve done an incredible job, your work is off the charts.
The stock market has grown so much. Its growth is off the charts.
If you want to say that the stock market has gone down, you could say, “plummeted.”
The stock market plummeted today.
A Fraction of
“A fraction of” means a small amount. Maybe you have an easy day at work. You could say, “I have a fraction of the work that I usually do.”
To Be Bound to Something
This means to be committed to something. If it’s “written in stone,” it means it’s like a contract. You are bound to do this thing; you’re committed to this thing. Or, you could say “it’s not written in stone.” That means we have a lot of flexibility.
If you are traveling somewhere, is it “written in stone” that you will travel this way, or do you have a flexible plan? If it’s flexible, it’s “not written in stone.” It’s open, no specific plans.
To Be Down to
This has several meanings. The first one “down to the wire.” This means that you are running out of time.
I have to finish this report, I’m down to the wire.
“To be down to” also means that you are coming to the end, to the point of making a decision. There is something you are comparing, and you are almost ready to decide. For example, if you are hiring a tutor and you’re comparing two different people, you might be at the last item you are comparing. You could say, “My decision is down to who does the best trial class.
It Comes Down to
This is very similar, and I think it’s very practical. “It comes down to” means “the deciding factor is…”
It comes down to who does the better trial class.
What I cook for dinner comes down to what I can find in my pantry.
To Have on Hand
This means something is easily available to you, something you have.
I always like to have extra food on hand in my pantry in case I can’t get to the grocery store.
What kinds of things do you like to keep on hand?
To That End
On That Note
This means that you have something to add to a conversation (to chime in). When you want to add your opinion or speak up and join a conversation use, these phrases if you want to “chime in.” Let’s say someone is talking about how much they like dogs. You could say, “Oh, on that note, I have a dog, too.”
No Such Thing
“No such thing” means that something is impossible. One English expression is:
There is no such thing as a free lunch.
There is no such thing as a flying pig.
When Pigs Fly
This is a well-known phrase that just means “never.”
All’s Well That Ends Well
This means that if the outcome is good, it justifies any previous challenge. “The ends justify the means,” meaning that something ends in a positive way, if you reach your goals, then all the difficulties or challenges you faced were “worth it.”
I hope you enjoyed these 50 advanced English speaking phrases! (Actually way more than 50 because I added some along the way, as they just “came to mind,” as they “came up.”)
Just like we talked here, and as you listen to Go Natural English tips, you’re going to learn a lot and just understand that English learning is a constant exploration.
Keep exploring! Stay curious and continually grow your vocabulary day after day. Practice a little bit each day. You can check out this post if you’d like to learn more advanced English phrases for a business setting. And don’t forget to add your email address here so you can get more free tips like this in your inbox every week! Thanks for watching and I’ll see you next week!